Autism, irony, and the Self-Esteem Movement

the silent wave

This is something that has always bothered me, even as a then-unknown autistic person.  The difference between then and now, besides age (and hopefully, wisdom), is that now I have become more conscious of the dichotomy–conscious enough to put it into words.

The dichotomy, as is true for all dichotomies, consists of two elements.

The first element is the “I’m OK, You’re OK” sentiment that sprouted in the late 1970s and proliferated in elementary schools across the US (and heavens knows where else).  This sentiment essentially touted that each person is “just fine” “exactly the way they are”.

That still might seem a little abstract, so I’ll provide an example that I found in a fantastic book about Generation X, titled “13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?” by William Strauss and Neil Howe, who were later credited with their own eponymous generational theory.

The example is this: a cartoon…

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